|UBER No. 17, August 2014|
Whether intentional or not, it’s hard at the start of Issue Seventeen of “Uber” not to hear the roar of a squadron of four-engined British heavy bombers mixed with an uplifting Ron Goodwin musical score as “Operation Daedalus’ dual missions” are launched upon the unsuspecting U-Boat bunkers at Elbe and Kilian in Germany. For Kieron Gillen’s tremendously tense opening, complete with Short Stirlings dropping a team of allied paratroopers into enemy territory during the dead of night, contains all the hallmarks of an Alistair MacLean wartime thriller such as “The Guns of Navarone” or “Where Eagles Dare”.
Indeed the first half of this comic is arguably faultless in its ‘mimicry’ of one of the Scottish novelist’s adventure books as its storyline focus’ upon a pair of cynical hard-nosed Tommies “devoted to their work”, who seemingly lead “the massed fire of the British Tank-Men” into a gruesome battle against their enhanced opponents… And somehow manage to best “unbeatable odds” by using their brains and close combat tactics as opposed to sheer brawn; “However, at the Elbe Raid the design flaw in the Heavy Panzermensch VI revealed itself. This changed everything.”
Disappointingly however, such an enthralling experience must have been marred for some of this title’s 6,934 strong audience by Gillen’s rather arbitrary inclusion of profanities and expletives throughout the magazine’s dialogue. Granted the Allies’ attacks, heavily reliant upon the advantage of surprise, are extremely stressful and edgy events. But having ‘narrated’ the build-up to the missions without resorting to such vulgarities, it somewhat jars with the sensibilities when as soon as the soldiers have landed and start talking, they do little else but swear at one another.
Equally as perplexing is the British writer’s inclusion of some incredibly word-heavy discussions between Stephanie and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. This nine-page sequence, somewhat split in half by Operation Daedalus, proves somewhat tough-going towards the end. Especially when the scientist starts to talk about decoding “the alien documents I stole when I was undercover” and artist Daniel Gete resorts to illustrating this solely as a series of simple panels depicting her holding a page of gobbledegook and being surrounded by large word bubbles.
|The variant cover art of "UBER" No. 17 by Daniel Gete|